The big question on the minds of baseball finds around to globe in the MLB‘s offseason is just exactly where will Shohei Ohtani end up as he prepares for one of the biggest deals in free agency history.
The Japanese pitching and hitting ace has his pick of the bunch after he rejected an offer from the Los Angeles Angels, his previous club, and he has been linked to contractual offers worth $500m – although that number now might be off the table as he’s unable to pitch until 2025.
According to SB Nation, there are five candidates and they can actually be ranked in terms of credibility and likelihood, so here they are.
5. Los Angeles Angels
Despite possessing Ohtani and Mike Trout, the ball club never managed to make it into the postseason picture despite an expansion of the wildcard series.
Ohtani has already rejected a $20m qualifying offer on November 14 but if negotiations elsewhere fall through, could he give it one more year?
4. Toronto Blue Jays
They were one of three teams left in the running according to various reports but as they now seem to shift their attention to the San Diego Padres’ Juan Soto, they could have given up on acquiring Ohtani’s services.
Ohtani would no doubt be a huge upgrade in the designated hitter category over Brandon Belt as he managed an extra 25 home runs, and they freed up some money by moving on Matt Chapman.
3. San Francisco Giants
The franchise will be celebrating the news that they have the Bay Area all to themselves in a handful of years as the Oakland A’s head to Nevada and could they do that by hiring one of the biggest names in their history?
Ohtani is said to want to stay on the Pacific seaboard, giving them an extra win in negotiations over some rivals. The Giants had an early 2010s dynasty, winning the World Series in 2010, 2012, 2014, could Ohtani reignite that?
2. Chicago Cubs
Ohtani won’t get his dreamy sunsets at the beach in the Windy City, but he could get $500m which isn’t bad compensation. Ohtani is also a huge upgrade on the designated hitter spot although Christopher Morel isn’t a bad option anyway.
In return, the Cubs would be catapulted to the forefront of ongoing baseball news for the next decade allowing them to grow the organization far more than it’s current status allows. Ken Rosenthal, of “The Athletic” believes Ohtani can do that.
1. The Los Angeles Dodgers
Does anyone expect anything else? They’re a perfect fit in all of the areas. They have the money to pay for him, they have the stars to attract him, he doesn’t even need to move house and he gets to keep his Californian beaches.
The Dodgers are long-time favorites and suitors of the Japanese ace and they’re almost always a dead-cert to win the National League West, guaranteeing a decade of shots at winning World Series, which they accomplished in 2020.
It’s predictable, possibly a little disappointing, but it’s entirely understandable. All will be revealed soon anyway.
When will Ohtani decide?
His decision is expected after MLB’s winter meetings in Nashville, Tennessee, which begin on Sunday, December 3 although it’s not yet clear how long after. It’s certainly on brand as he has kept all of his cards incredibly close to his chest during negotiations.
Wherever he will go, he will no doubt transform baseball in that region. Unless, except, maybe the Dodgers whom are already littered with stars and Ohtani already lives in LA.
But it’s exciting, it could be the same scale as LeBron James‘ “The Decision” way back in 2010 when the NBA star announced her was transferring to the Miami Heat instead of the Cleveland Cavaliers.